What’s in a Name?

Talk about a classic head-scratcher.  On the heals of the clamor for the Washington Redskins to change their name, we get this story from Thermal, California.

Although I can’t defend the use of the term “Redskin”, at least the logo depicts a brave native American warrior. I think Daniel Snyder could probably easily split the baby and keep the logo while renaming the team something less offensive. But I digress. Arabs? Seriously?

According to the story, “The school has a mascot that depicts a man with a large nose, heavy beard, and wearing a traditional head covering. During halftime, a female dressed as a belly dancer entertains the mascot by dancing for him.”

It all seems so old school stereotypical. The people in Thermal need to be reminded that it’s 2013. The mascot should at least have explosives strapped to his chest and 70 virgins dancing rather than just the one – assuming they can find that many virgins at Coachella Valley High School.

We’ve heard about the St. John’s Redmen, the Syracuse Orangemen, and all sorts of other insensitive names.  And, of course there is this campaign which tries to put it all in perspective. But one thing’s for sure, the good folks of Thermal are facing one very hairy problem. 

The “Arabs” name is simultaneously offensive and humorous in that it seems more like an outlandish SNL sketch than a name anyone would genuinely consider for their school nickname. Even in 1930 one suspects there had to have been some reluctance.  Putting aside the racism, is that really the best name they could come up with?

Now, you want a good, solid, unoffensive name, you can go about 70 miles North of Birmingham, Alabama where the local high school  calls their teams the “Knights.”   Yes, that’s A-rab, pronounced with a long “A.”

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One Response to What’s in a Name?

  1. Wayne says:

    here is another one — White Settlement, Texas, just northwest of Fort Worth. When I lived in Dallas, I always was surprised that the town name hadn’t been changed.

    From Wikipedia:
    “The name of White Settlement originated as a result of there being two settlements in the area: one occupied predominantly by Native Americans (near where Fort Worth is located today), and the other one being occupied by white settlers. The latter settlement received the name “White Settlement” as a way to distinguish itself from the Native American settlement. The city was incorporated in 1941.

    On October 14, 2005, city leaders announced a plan to have local voters decide on a possible name change for the town from White Settlement to West Settlement. In the November 8 election, the name change was overwhelmingly rejected by a vote of 2388 to 219.”

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